Gypsy moth caterpillars are invading eastern Hampden County

In 1981 the gypsy moth caterpillar defoliated a record 12.9 million acres

HOLLAND, Mass. (WWLP) –  In the early 1980s gypsy moth caterpillars were a common sight all across western Massachusetts. If you were born in the 1990s you may have never seen one before but they’re making a come back.

In the town of Holland the gypsy moth caterpillars are everywhere. In only about 20 minutes the caterpillars were all over the tire of our news car.

They are also very destructive. “They have destroyed all the trees we have no more leaves I mean there just everywhere we have all dead leaves on the ground so we’re not gonna have anymore leaves this year,” said Vicky Dinsmore of Holland.

Gypsy moth caterpillars invade New England neighborhoods

If you step outside it may sound like it’s raining. But that’s not rain it’s actually their droppings and it’s falling on top of everything.

And while they’re not in the Springfield area yet they could be soon. “We’re going to see the spread, so this fall or late summer when the moth is actually hatched they’re going to move more west and it’s going to creep its way towards us each year,” said Bob Russell the entomologist at American Pest Solutions.

You can try treating the tree trunks but once they’re in the canopies there’s not much you can do and they’re harder to control these days.

“The problem is there isn’t a lot that can be done, we’ve become a society of reduced pesticides usage and rightfully so but by doing that we’ve let the door open to this pest and a lot of other pests and also kind of handcuffed the applicators without a lot of tools left,” said Bob Russell.

In 1981, the gypsy moth caterpillar defoliated a record 12.9 million acres. That’s an area larger than Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut combined.

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